Dr. Debbie Rhea

Project Creator & Director

Dr. Debbie Rhea, TCU Professor and Associate Dean of Research in Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is the Founder and Director of the LiiNK Project (Let’s inspire innovation ‘N kids). She has been an educator for the past 37 years, starting her career in K-12 physical education and for the past 24 years has been training physical education teachers at the university level. She has published over 40 peer reviewed articles and 14 books on physical activity and eating disorders among children and adolescents, presented at over 250 different local, regional, national, and international conferences, and been an invited speaker on stress, healthy living, behavior change, motivation, and eating disorders. The mission of her newest research project, LiiNK, is to bridge the gap between academics and the social, emotional and healthy well-being of children through increased recess and character development. She launched this research project successfully in two Fort Worth private schools in 2013.  She has now expanded the program to five public school districts in North Texas as well as one Oklahoma public school. She is moving schools to think differently about creating a learning environment that promotes rigor through the combination of four-15 minute recesses throughout the day and character development curriculum taught daily.  She emphasizes the need for a more active school environment through outdoor, unstructured play and structured physical education in order to stimulate the brain for learning. She and her LiiNK team are increasing the number of school districts involved with the project again next year as well as moving to other states.


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